You relate a lot of things to size. Small things are always the babies, big things are the mommies or daddies. Big people, in your mind, are more competent. When you are feeling confident in your ability to do something, you will declare yourself a “big boy”. You tell me quite frequently that, “it’s okay, Daddy can do it, he’s a big boy.”
(Usually this is pretty cute. Once, when I was helping you play a video game, I flubbed a level and remarked, “Oh, Mama’s not very good at this.” You replied with, “Oh, Daddy is better at it? Because he is a big boy?” That was…not as endearing.)
Yesterday I got the dreaded Call from daycare: you had a high fever. I collected you immediately (you were lying on the floor) and took you home to fill you full of fluids and pain reliever.
It wasn’t quite doing the trick, though; your fever was still pretty high, and you started to get shaky and weepy, so I took you to the medi-clinic this morning. You’re not normally a big complainer. Despite all evidence to the contrary – red eyes, nose full of snot – you’ll usually declare yourself feeling “ok”. Shaky and weepy – and then, in the waiting room, crying about joint pain – is kind of a big deal.
The medi-zombie took the usual perfunctory look in your ears and throat, declared it an infection, and prescribed penicillin. Of course.
I got you home, dosed you with banana-flavored medicine, and installed you on the couch with movies and four different kinds of juice.
“Are you feeling better, buddy?” your father asked.
“Yes,” you answered, not very convincingly.
“Were you good at the doctor?”
“Of course you were. You’re a big boy,” your father said, conveying both confidence in your recovery and pride in your toughness.
“No,” you said in a trembly voice. “I am just smaller. And smaller and smaller.”
(You did look pretty small, there, for a few hours. But the fever came down and you’re back to being larger than life, telling me elaborate stories and arguing over bedtime.)